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Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

RIA: Praga 1921 One-Handed Pocket Pistol

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This cute little pocket pistol was an early project of Vaclav Holek, who would become much better known for his work with the ZB-26 light machine gun and ZH-29 rifle. It is a very small .25ACP selfloader, intended to be operated with one hand only. The trigger locks into a folded position to allow […]

RIA: Beretta 1915 – the First of the Beretta Pistols

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The Italian military went into WWI having already adopted a semiautomatic sidearm – the Model 1910 Glisenti (and its somewhat simplified Brixia cousin). However, the 1910 Glisenti was a very complex design, and much too expensive to be practical for the needs of the global cataclysm that was the Great War. In response to […]

RIA: Ortgies Pistols

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The Ortgies is a pistol whose interested aspects are often overlooked on the assumption that it is just another identical .32 ACP blowback pistol. Well, it is that – but it is also more.

Mechanically, the Ortgies has a rather unusual grip safety mechanism that is quite different from what we expect to see […]

RIA: The Jager Pistol and its Complex Reassembly

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The German military used a lot of different small-caliber pistols during World War One, and the Jäger is one of the most interesting of them. Its unique design was the result of needing to build pistols for the war effort on machines and tooling that were not suited for pistol production. The answer? Replace […]

RIA: Alkar Cartridge-Counting Pistol

Alkartasuna SA was a company formed in 1914 by a handful of disgruntled Astra (well, Astra was still called Esperanza y Unceta at that time) employees. This was a difficult time for the Eibar gun industry – demand was low, their reputation for quality was not good (the lack of a central proof house […]

RIA: Webley 1905 Pocket Automatic

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William Whiting was an engineer who spent his entire adult career with the Webley company, and was responsible for all of their in-house self-loading pistol designs. This work initially focused on a behemoth of a pistol, the Model 1904 intended for military contracts. The gun proved insufficiently attractive to the British military though, leaving […]

RIA: Smith & Wesson Model 1913 Automatic Pistols (Video)

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Smith & Wesson’s first venture into the autoloading pistol market was done under the leadership of Joe Wesson, Daniel Wesson’s son. He was quite the automatic pistol enthusiast, and made an agreement to license patents of Liege designer Charles Clement for adaptation into a pistol for the US market.

The resulting Model 1913 featured […]

RIA: Little Tom – the World’s First DAO Automatic

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The Little Tom pistols designed by Alois Tomiška are notable for two particular features: their unusual reloading system and for being the first commercial DAO automatic pistols. Made in both .25ACP and .32 ACP in the 1920s (the .25 versions are much more common than the .32s), these beat out the Walther PP as […]

RIA: Star Model 1920

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The Model 1920 was Star’s first locked-breech pistol, basically a combination of features from the Colt 1911 and their traditional Eiber blowback .32 pistols. It was tested by the Spanish Army in 1920, with inconclusive results. The Guardia Civil, however, found it to be suitable and adopted it after those tests. Only 3850 were […]